Making Sense of the Census
By Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census
In December of last year, NYC Census
2020 launched the City’s first-ever
community awards program focused on
census-related education and organizing,
the Complete Count Fund. The more
than 150 awardees serve all 245 New York
City neighborhoods in more than 80 languages.
As New Yorkers continue to shelter in
place, Complete Count Fund awardees have
had to find new ways to conduct outreach.
To that end, NYC Census 2020 has partnered
with Complete Count Fund awardees
to launch a brand new digital organizing
campaign across messaging apps like
WhatsApp, WeChat, KakaoTalk, and Viber
to help spread the word about the 2020 Census.
The campaign is based around 15 new
group chats housed on these platforms,
each designed for a different New York immigrant
and language community, from
Russian to Korean to Urdu and beyond.
These apps often serve as the primary way
community members speak to each other,
especially as they are social distancing.
Each group will act as a hub where trusted
community leaders can share key census
information and resources that other volunteers
can use to help get out the count
across their own networks.
It’s no secret that many of the communities
suffering most from COVID-19 include
immigrants and people whose first
language is not English. And as we at NYC
Census 2020 know, these same communities
tend to suffer some of the worst undercounts
in the census, which results in
them getting far less than their fair share
of funding for important public resources
like hospitals and emergency services.
These communities desperately need a
complete count to get the resources they deserve.
And to reach a complete count, New
Yorkers need ways to share information
from trusted sources and encourage their
friends, families, and neighbors to participate
in the 2020 Census.
Many New Yorkers have already been
doing similar work forming local mutual
aid groups and other groups to share information
and resources as we fight COVID-19,
but language barriers can leave many behind.
We welcome all who speak one of the
over 200 languages spoken in New York
City to join our efforts by joining a WhatsApp
group at nyc.gov/census.
Fill out the census now at my2020census.
TIMESLEDGER |6 QNS.COM | MAY 15-MAY 21, 2020
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